Hiring an SEO Consultant for Your Business

In Bill Hartzer’s latest episode of the Digital Marketing with Bill Hartzer podcast, Bill talks about hiring an SEO Consultant for your business. The following is the transcript from this episode. You can listen to the podcast here:

Listen to “Hiring an SEO Consultant for Your Business” on Spreaker.

You can also listen on Apple Podcasts:

Welcome to the Digital Marketing Podcast with Bill Hartzer podcast. In this episode, I’m going to discuss hiring an SEO specialist or SEO Consultant for your business.

Hiring an SEO has the potential of improving your website and saving time. But you also risk damage to your website and your company’s reputation. If you hire an SEO who gives you bad advice and recommends bad practices, your website can get penalized by Google.

In a recent YouTube video, Google gave several recommendations about hiring a search engine optimization specialist. First, they recommended conducting an interview with the potential SEO consultant.

They said that good SEO consultants ask questions about your business. Good search engine optimization consultants want to understand your business, and what makes your business, content, or service unique. Why is your business valuable to your customers? How do customers currently find your website? What is the persona of your most common customer or ideal customer? How does your business make money and how can being visible in the search engine results pages help with that?

What type of additional advertising do you do? Do you use offline and online advertising? Do you advertise on social networks like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter? Who are you competitors and have you analyzed your competitors’ websites and their online visibility?

I agree with Google when it comes to all of these questions. Generally, if the SEO consultant that you’re thinking of hiring isn’t interested in your online marketing efforts from a holistic point of view, then you may want to consider someone else. It is very difficult to optimize your website and your online presence without completely understanding the business goals, and all of the company’s marketing efforts.

If someone you’re thinking of hiring mentions guarantees or guaranteeing search engine rankings, then you should not work with them. In fact, the only thing that they should be guaranteeing is that they will do the work and that you’ll continue to see some improvement. Search engine rankings and visibility take time.

You should also make sure that you check references. That’s true for any professional that you hire, whether it’s a search engine optimization consultant or someone doing work on your home.

Any SEO you’re going to work with should be focused on long-term plans and become a part of your marketing efforts.

Google mistakenly, however, and wrongly recommends that before you hire an SEO consultant you should request a technical and search audit. I absolutely do not recommend that–there is no way that a proper technical SEO audit can (or should) be done before you even hire the SEO. That would mean that the SEO is performing a technical and search audit of your website for free. If the SEO is providing a free SEO audit, be very wary of the advice that they give you. In fact, those “free SEO audits” given by SEOs before they’re even hired is just a cheap, sales and lead generation tactic. Technical SEO audits take time, usually at least 10 or more hours of work to complete. Technical audits are a must before any ongoing search engine optimization work is done, as no one can predict what the real issues are until the audit is complete.

So to recap, when hiring an SEO specialist or SEO Expert, make sure that you do ask for references. Interview the SEO to make sure that they are generally interested in your business from a holistic marketing perspective and not just interested in quick tactics to help your website rank well. And finally, I would ask them to give you a short list of a few issues or problems that they see with your website. And, be wary of anyone who offers to give you a technical audit or your website before you even hire them.

If you have any questions about search engine optimization and technical audits, I have several episodes of the Digital Marketing with Bill Hartzer podcast that you can listen to where we talk about audits. Thank you for listening, this is the Digital Marketing with Bill Hartzer podcast.

7 Steps to Hire an SEO Consultant

Hiring an SEO isn’t that tough. There are plenty out there that you can hire. But hiring the right SEO consultant for your business can be, in fact, difficult. There are, though, some steps that I would make sure that you complete during the process:

  1. Take the time to interview the SEO specialist. I do prefer to do this in person, if possible, or via Skype. If that’s not available or an option, then a phone call or conference call is preferred.
  2. Look for signs that the SEO truly wants to understand your business from a holistic perspective–not that they just want to rank you for certain keywords.
  3. If they mention the word “guarantee”, then I would generally not work with them. But you can ask them if they guarantee rankings for certain keywords. They should tell you that they do not guarantee search engine rankings.
  4. Check references. Ask them for other example sites that they have ranked or helped with their SEO.
  5. Ask the SEO consultant for some examples of problems or issues with your website. They should be able to point out at least several issues that need to be corrected. That’s normal–every website isn’t perfect and can improve at least in some way.
  6. Do not expect the SEO to provide you with a technical audit of your website or a “free SEO audit”. That’s unrealistic, as proper Technical SEO audits take time–at least several hours to complete.
  7. If you want to be really comprehensive with your interview of the SEO Consultant, SEO firm, or SEO agency, you can always ask them some of these 44 questions to ask your SEO.

Choosing and selecting someone or a company/agency to work on your website’s search engine optimization efforts is not easy. And, it can certainly have detrimental effects on your overall business if you hire the wrong consultant or company. By following the above steps, you should be able to find the right SEO consultant.

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